Deal­ing with ‘loud­speaker’ peo­ple or LPs is pretty sim­ple. You don’t have to deal with them!

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Time Out - Sonal Kalra ne itna gyan baanta, how about shout­ing out a loud cheer? Oops. Mail her at sonal.kalra@hin­dus­tan­ or on Face­book at face­ son­al­kalra13. Fol­low on Twit­ter at twit­ son­al­kalra SONAL KALRA

Many years ago, some id­iot had come up with the idea that ‘of­fence is the best de­fence’. Till date, many id­iots are re­li­giously fol­low­ing it. I saw one such re­spectable gen­tle­man re­cently. His car that seemed be­ing driven at a re­spectable speed of 80km/hr on an inside lane of my hum­ble res­i­den­tial area, went over a pud­dle and splashed muddy wa­ter on two young girls who were walk­ing along­side.

Don’t ask me where the pud­dle came from, con­sid­er­ing it’s not rainy sea­son. Be­cause then I’ll have to tell you how Chad­dha ji gets too busy with Mrs Chad­dha in the morn­ing and for­gets to switch their wa­ter mo­tor, lead­ing to a beau­ti­ful wa­ter­fall ev­ery morn­ing till much after the over­head tank is full. Of course the neighbours don’t ob­ject. Don’t you know how im­por­tant wa­ter­falls are to nat­u­ral beauty? All the kids in the area owe their first prize in school paint­ing com­pe­ti­tions to the fact that they can all draw wa­ter­falls per­fectly in land­scapes.

Any­way, please don’t divert my at­ten­tion from the main sub­ject. ‘Hey’, one of the girls shouted, her dress ru­ined badly by the muddy wa­ter. The car stopped. Correction: The car had to stop, not out of a stroke of good con­science by the driver, but be­cause some­one else had parked in such a way that he couldn’t turn. Be­fore the girls could say any­thing, the wa­ter-splasher shouted loudly. “Why can’t you walk prop­erly on the road-side? When you can see wa­ter on the road, have the com­mon sense to walk at a dis­tance.” I was watch­ing from my bal­cony, and had ev­ery im­pulse to go down and en­lighten him with the right def­i­ni­tion of com­mon sense.

But then I stopped. For all the ‘we won’t take it ly­ing down’ spirit of the young­sters today, I wanted to see how the girls would re­act. And then it hap­pened. The one who seemed barely 14 raised her­self to all her height, and said ‘YOU should have the sense to slow down when your car goes through a pud­dle.’ And then to my im­mense sat­is­fac­tion, the other young girl added, ‘Shout­ing does not make you right’. I wanted to dance, but then I hap­pened to see Chad­dha ji do­ing aer­o­bics and had to rush inside to throw up. I’m happy that the girls had the courage to stand up against a bully. But I’m hap­pier at them hav­ing un­der­stood one very ba­sic, very im­por­tant rule in life — rais­ing your voice does not make you right.

This week my heart goes out to those who have to en­counter ‘loud­speaker’ peo­ple or LPs in their lives. Bosses, spouses, par­ents, teach­ers — LPs can come in any form or size. Their funda dur­ing an ar­gu­ment is sim­ple and SO wrong — for­get about the con­tent, fo­cus on the vol­ume. Here’s how to deal with them.

1 Don’t deal with them: No, I’ve not lost it, say­ing two con­tra­dic­tory sen­tences one after the other. The best way to deal with an LP is to walk out on him or her. The mo­ment a per­son turns a healthy ar­gu­ment or de­bate into a shout­ing match, just refuse to be a party to it. It’s no sign of weak­ness. It’s a sign of ma­tu­rity. Al­ways re­mem­ber that when they want to make a point: tod­dlers yell, adults talk. If an adult in­sists on be­hav­ing like a tantrum throw­ing kid, treat him like one and ig­nore his de­mands of at­ten­tion. Tell such a yeller very firmly that you will be happy to re­sume the con­ver­sa­tion when all the shout­ing stops.

2 Sur­prise them: In sit­u­a­tions when you can’t phys­i­cally walk away from some­one who’s shout­ing non­stop, sur­prise them into si­lence by do­ing some­thing sud­den and strange. Like whis­tle. Or switch the topic al­to­gether and say ‘Do you think it will rain today?’ It breaks the chain of their non­stop rant and they’ll be forced to stop and think. Haan, there is a pos­si­bil­ity that it may anger them fur­ther, so do this from a safe dis­tance.

3 If you are ‘them’: In other words, if you are a ha­bit­ual yeller and read­ing this, please take a deep breath, in­tro­spect, and slap. Your­self, of course. Do re­alise that no mat­ter how much you wish for it to be, the vol­ume of hu­man voice has pre­cious lit­tle to do with the right­ness of a per­son, or an ar­gu­ment. On the con­trary, some­times peo­ple get so put off by the one who al­ways shouts that his right ar­gu­ments are also not un­der­stood or ac­cepted. Be­cause it gives peo­ple a chance to brand you as the ag­gres­sive one. You don’t want that ... do you? I ad­mit that all of us, in­clud­ing my­self, have a se­cret wish to be able to punch some peo­ple in the nose with­out there be­ing any con­se­quences. But then in real life, there are al­ways con­se­quences. Also, no mat­ter how im­por­tant you may feel scream­ing your lungs out, over ag­gres­sive loud­speaker peo­ple are not pop­u­lar, you see. News an­chors are ex­cep­tions. And they too, mind you, don’t shout around in their per­sonal lives. The most ag­gres­sive ones on-screen are mostly soft­spo­ken ones off it. En­ergy hi nahi bachti hogi.

4 Know your rights: It’s im­por­tant that ir­re­spec­tive of the gen­der, age, oc­cu­pa­tion, hi­er­ar­chy etc, you are al­ways aware of your right to not be in­tim­i­dated. Through­out your life, you’ll en­counter yellers who will jus­tify their shout­ing by say­ing they did it be­cause they want you to im­prove. In a lot of in­stances, they’ll in fact be right in hav­ing that in­ten­tion. It’s up to you, how­ever, to give them the con­fi­dence that you are ca­pa­ble of re­al­is­ing your fault and cor­rect­ing it, with­out the need of be­ing screamed at. Tell them it’ll save them the en­ergy, you the hu­mil­i­a­tion and world the noise pol­lu­tion if the vol­ume is con­trolled.

5 Speak up when you should: At the risk of con­tra­dict­ing what­ever I’ve said so far, let me re-iter­ate that the virtue of be­ing soft-spo­ken should never trans­late it­self into stay­ing quiet when there is a need to be heard. Very of­ten we en­counter fools who mis­take si­lence for sur­ren­der. Speak up, clear and loud if the need be, if you come across flag bear­ers of the king­dom of in­sane and un­rea­son­able. Just know how and when to fil­ter noise from sub­stance, both in what the other one says, and what you do.

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